The data for this study were collected in Phase 2, the outcome evaluation, of the Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project. The purpose of the study was to answer the following questions:
- What did CIRCLE achieve in the communities in which it was implemented?
- What do these findings suggest about the promise of multi-sector, multi-program strategic investments in improving system design and functioning as a means of fighting crime, violence, and related social ills in Native American communities?
The Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project was launched in the late 1990s as a collaborative effort by seven grantmaking offices and bureaus of the United States Department of Justice (the Corrections Program Office, Violence Against Women Office, Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Community Oriented Policing and Services Office, and National Institute of Justice) and several nongrantmaking agencies. CIRCLE aimed to strengthen tribal justice systems and, through effective tribal-level planning and strategic comprehensive approaches, to better equip Native American nations to combat the interlinked community problems of crime, violence, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. The Native American nations invited to participate in the CIRCLE project were the Northern Cheyenne in southeastern Montana, the Oglala Sioux in southwestern South Dakota, and the Zuni in New Mexico. The Native American nations pursued the following strategies:
The Northern Cheyenne CIRCLE partners marshaled the resources provided through CIRCLE and their previous experience with comprehensive initiatives to continue strengthening the tribe's justice system, especially as it affected youth. They invested in community policing, responses to family violence, and youth corrections services including construction of a new juvenile detention center. The Oglala Sioux's efforts were focused on crime reduction through improved law enforcement, court, and corrections functions. Several advocacy goals were closely tied to these efforts, including better police accountability to citizens and more regularized treatment of offenders cited for public intoxication. The Zuni worked to break the the intergenerational "cycle of violence" through a strategy focused on the reduction of alcohol-related crime, family violence, and youth violence. The tribe's investment in a sophisticated management information system was a centerpiece of their effort.
The focus of this study was a 30-month participatory outcomes evaluation of the CIRCLE Project. The evaluation was a partnership among tribal site-based local evaluation teams composed of community members (the internal evaluators), a national team convened by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (HPAIED) and the Native Nations Institute (NNI) at the University of Arizona (the external evaluators), and federal funders and project organizers within the United States Department of Justice. Due to the participatory nature of the outcomes evaluation, the tribal partners (represented organizationally by Chief Dull Knife College at Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota College at Oglala Sioux, and the Zuni Community Development and Advocacy Center) participated in and often directed core evaluation design and data collection tasks. In particular, they identified the focus, goals, and end products of the CIRCLE Project evaluation at their sites and locally relevant program outcomes and system performance indicators. Throughout the process, the local partners assigned external evaluation researchers to the tasks for which their efforts were most appropriate or most needed. These included advocacy for the evaluation research within the tribe, meeting facilitation, and by-hand data collection.
The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) developed selection criteria to narrow the list of potential participants first to six to eight possible invitees, and finally to three. The specific considerations that led to the selection of the Northern Cheyenne, the Oglala Sioux, and the Zuni to participate in the CIRCLE Project were:
- Population: Project designers wanted to reach out to tribes with medium to large populations, which they defined as greater than 5,000 but less than 40,000.
- Level of crime: Project designers wanted to fund tribes that had serious violent crime problems, defined in terms of the nature and volume of tribal and federal caseloads.
- Governance and justice infrastructure: Project designers wanted to work with tribes that had a reasonably well-developed tribal infrastructure including tribal government, law enforcement, and court system.
- Relationship with USDOJ or Office of Justice Programs (OJP): Project designers were interested in using the CIRCLE Project as a vehicle for strengthening current relationships with tribes and looked across their programs for tribes with which they had developed good working relationships.
- Traditionalism: Project designers were interested in learning how USDOJ grants, which are geared towards Western justice, work in traditional communities.
- Commitment: To ascertain commitment, Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and local United States Attorneys made an official visit to the top candidate tribes to identify tribal justice components, develop a better understanding of tribal justice needs, and gauge tribal interest in participating in the CIRCLE Project.
- Tribal jurisdiction and law enforcement arrangements: Project designers wanted to work with tribes whose criminal jurisdiction was not restricted under P.L.83-280, as greater jurisdiction might allow a tribe to work more comprehensively on crime and violence issues.
- Community-based leadership: Project designers were interested in working with communities with relatively strong community-based leadership.
- Full faith and credit initiatives: Project designers expressed initial interest in working with a tribe that had progressed with the implementation of full faith and credit initiatives to protect battered women, but this factor was little mentioned beyond the initial discussions.
- Verifiable results: Some project designers expressed interest in working with tribes that already were active in the collection and reporting of accurate reservation-level criminal data. This consideration was only discussed in the very early stages of site selection.
Comparison communities were selected collaboratively by the tribal, federal, and evaluation partners, based on considerations such as geography, population size, culture, and law enforcement challenges.
All Native American nations receiving federal funding for their justice systems from 1998 through 2003.
Native American nation
These data were collected from arrest logs, court case files, departmental reports, and agency records and documents.
administrative records data
Part 1 contains data on each of the Native American nations. The Northern Cheyenne data include variables on juvenile arrests between 1995 and 2003 for intoxication, curfew violations, disorderly conduct, and total arrests. The Oglala Sioux data include variables on police force stability and court pleadings. The Zuni data include variables on arrests for simple assault, public intoxication, driving while intoxicated (DWI), endangerment, domestic violence, and total arrests between 2001 and 2004. Part 2 contains data on funding from the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) to the Northern Cheyenne, the Oglala Sioux, the Zuni, and six comparison tribes for fiscal years 1998 to 2003. The funding is broken down by source: Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Community Oriented Policing Services Office (COPS), Executive Office of Weed and Seed (EOWS), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).